FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico—Standing in formation at an assembly hall filled with over 300 guests were the leadership and soldiers of the 166th Regional Support Group, 210th Regional Support Group, and the Caribbean Readiness Group, representing over 4,700 soldiers assigned to the 1st Mission Support Command.
Various distinguished guests were in attendance, including the Hon. Omar J. Marrero Diaz, the secretary of state of Puerto Rico; the Hon. Luz Arce, the former senator for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the Hon. Nellie Gorbea, the former secretary of state of Rhode Island.
As well as high-ranking officials such as Maj. Gen. (Retired) Felix A. Santoni, the emeritus civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Puerto Rico, Brig. Gen. (Retired) Fernando Fernandez, the former 1st MSC commanding general, and Gen. Raul Rodriguez, the commander of the 103rd Sustainment Command, eagerly gathered to witness the exchange of leadership from one commanding officer to another in a traditional change of command ceremony on July 30, 2023.
For this occasion, the official party consisted of Maj. Gen. Robert D. Harter, the 81st Readiness Division commanding general, Col. Carlos M. Caceres, the 1st MSC outgoing commander; and Col. Carlos E. Gorbea, the 1st MSC incoming commander.
Once the sound of Ruffles and Flourishes was completed, Chaplain Capt. Farlin Reynoso led the invocation, bringing people of different faiths into a moment of reflection—afterward, the master of ceremony, Maj. Kathryne Iaccuzi recognized the devotion and loyal support of the 1st Mission Support Command soldiers and their families.
With ceremonial precision, 1st Sgt. Osvaldo Morales marched forward and requested permission to post the colors, to which Col. Caceres loudly responded: Post the colors!
With the color guard marching in perfect unison, the master of ceremony narrated the history of the 1st Mission Support Command, reminding the audience of the rich legacy of the federal organization.
Consequently, the official party stepped forward and rearranged themselves to initiate the transfer of authority. Command Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Meunier II passed the colors to Col. Caceres as his last official act as his command sergeant major.
In the same manner, Col. Caceres presented the colors to Maj. Gen. Harter relinquishing his command and showing gratitude for the opportunity to lead and serve the soldiers of the 1st MSC.
Finally, Maj. Gen. Harter passed the colors to Col. Gorbea, entrusting him with the responsibility and care of the command as the new commanding officer for the 1st MSC.
"By authority of paragraph 2-2D, AR 600-20, the undersigned assumes command of the 1st Mission Support Command, effective July 30, 2023," declared Maj. Iaccuzi. "Signed, Carlos E. Gorbea, colonel, United States Army Reserve, commanding."
The colors, now under Col. Gorbea's care, were passed back to Command Sgt. Maj. Meunier as a symbol of trust as he will now serve as the senior enlisted leader and advisor to him.
As the transfer of authority was completed, Maj. Harter approached the podium to deliver his remarks. He emphasized the milestone and relevance of the Army Reserve organization in the region.
"What do we have in the 1st Mission Support Command?" Maj. Harter asked. "Around 71 units, thousands of soldiers spread across Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands not only providing warfighting support in defense of the Nation but also, providing support during emergencies and natural disasters."
Afterwards, Col. Caceres delivered his farewell speech, reflecting on the shared accomplishments and expressing profound admiration towards the 1st Mission Support Command and its members.
"Commanding the 1st Mission Support Command has been an amazing experience, and it is hard to say goodbye," said Col. Caceres. "As the saying goes, times fly when you are having fun, and for Sonia (Col. Caceres' wife) and I, it truly feels like it was yesterday since we arrived because it has been a gratifying experience."
Col. Caceres, a military intelligence officer, assumed authority of the 1st Mission Support Command on October 16, 2021. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medal. He is married to Sonia Caceres and has two daughters, Veronica and Valerie.
Lastly, Col. Gorbea gratefully accepted the responsibility of leading the organization, highlighting his vision and commitment to fulfilling his commanding officer role.
"The 1st Mission Support Command has an honorable legacy hence moving on to the future, I would like to maintain its ability to provide combat-ready soldiers to deploy across the world," said Col. Gorbea. "I believe the 1st Mission Support Command has much to offer the world."
Col. Gorbea is married to Andrea Hermann, and they have two children, Stella and Rafael Gorbea. He was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He graduated from Princeton University in 1998 with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical and Aerospatiale Engineering. He possesses a Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctoral Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Munich Technical University.